Is it possible to get high-quality traffic for dirt cheap prices?
Many marketing companies will try to convince you that it is just not possible, however we believe with the right techniques there is a way you can dramatically slash your advertising costs when running PPC campaigns.
Learning how to slash advertising costs and lower your cost per click, without compromising on the quality of your traffic is what we strive for, and in this article we are going to share with you some of our most trusted and practiced techniques.
By following some of our tried and true tips and tricks, you will learn how to still receive the same flow of high quality traffic for less. This will help you to increase profits and help boost your return on investment on all PPC campaigns.
And what could be better than that?
Let’s get started…
A Successful PPC campaign
A study conducted by Wordstream found that small businesses spend at least $1,200 on PPC campaigns per month on average. Many of theses businesses however, waste their budget running campaigns that don’t produce profitable results.
There are many moving parts that go into running a successful PPC campaign, but at the end of the day it all comes down to return on investment.
You could be running an ad campaign with some of the highest click through rates in the industry, but if you are not able to turn those results into profits then there is a good probability that your business is not going to be around for much longer.
There are many key factors that go into creating a successful business, but when it comes to a successful PPC campaign it starts with your CPC.
There is no mistaking it, in order to run a successful PPC campaign you have to be willing to spend the money so your ad can be seen by the right people.
Google Adwords, which is one of the leading advertising platforms out there is highly competitive, and you have to be willing to spend in order to bid for the keywords that are going to bring you the right customers.
You can spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands running a PPC campaign, but that doesn’t really mean its successful if the numbers are not adding up across all areas of your business.
Hands down the only way to run a successful PPC campaign is to ensure that your click through rates are high, your conversion rates are high and your cost per click is low.
We have spoken a lot about conversion rates and things you can do to improve that, but now we are going to focus on the other important factor of keeping your cost per click (CPC) at record low prices.
In fact, by focusing your awareness here it can help to drastically increase your profits without having to worry about increasing your sales. It is also a great strategy to employ if you are looking to cut costs or if you are working on a tight budget.
Step 1: Don’t Rely on Google Adwords
Google Adwords is the king of PPC campaigns, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider other platforms.
It is estimated that around 90 percent of brands use Google Adwords, which means that they have the greatest stronghold in the industry. Data from Smart Insights also shows that Google controls around 68 percent of the search engine market space.
With such clutches in the industry it means that Google Adwords is not only popular but also expensive.
It can be tempting to place all your eggs in the Adwords basket seeing as they are the leaders in the industry, however it doesn’t have to be this way.
Even though Google Adwords receives the most traffic, it doesn’t mean that it is the only effective platform to advertise on. In fact, there is a lot of success to be had when it comes to PPC campaigns by relying on smaller networks.
These smaller networks include-
Yahoo! Bing Network
The Yahoo! Bing network accounts for around 30 percent of online searches. It also offers much more competitive rates than Google Adwords and the traffic is still of extremely high quality.
Buy Sell Ads is one of the largest networks out there and according to their website they generate a whopping 6 billion ad impressions every single month. Buy Sell Ads has a very easy to use program and offers high quality traffic for much less than Google Adwords. Buy Sell Ads is also a great platform for boutique industries.
Adroll is exclusively a retargeting platform and is one of the top third party tools approved by Facebook. Adroll also supports Google Adwords, however their strongest point by far is the fact that they are backed by Facebook. While the prices are a little on the higher side, it may be worth checking out for businesses who have had success with retargeted ads in the past.
Even though it may not be as well recognised as Google Adwords, 7Search is one of the oldest advertising networks. Traffic is very cheap on 7Search, so it is a great platform to use for running tests and monitoring different keywords. The downside to 7Search however, is the low quality traffic, especially for long tail keywords.
Infolinks supports in-text advertising and is marketed as a great solution to banner blindness. Recent studies have shown that people are more likely to click on highlighted text than a button or banner, however this is something that also has to be tested on a case by case basis. Infolinks offers four types of ad units and traffic is competitively priced.
Similar to Infolinks is Kontexua, which is a in-text advertising network. This network is highly recommended if you are looking to break into the Spanish speaking market. Rates are competitive and traffic is of decent quality.
DNTX is a direct traffic navigation platform that provides advertisers with the traffic of parked domains. This system helps to target people who type in an exact URL on an abandoned site. If the site is no longer active they get sent to your ad or website instead. This type of advertising generally has very high conversion rates, but as you can imagine the traffic is hard to come by.
AdLandmark is an advertising network for software providers- think of it like a pay per download service. Software advertisers can actually submit free versions of their tools to the system as well, which could be a great way to increase paid customers.
All social media services have their own advertising platform from Facebook to Instagram and Twitter. We have chosen to highlight Twitter however, as users can set up a pay per Tweet ad. This is tracked with Google Analytics, which means that results are extremely transparent. Right now Twitter advertising offers very competitive rates and high quality traffic.
ADsmonster is a great Adwords alternative and has a combination of both low quality and high quality traffic. ADsmonster is also a good option for those working in a specific or niche industry.
As you can see, there are many alternatives to Google Adwords that may be worth exploring. While some of them have specific purposes, they may help to increase your traffic flow and cut costs. They may also be worth experimenting with if you are looking for additional streams of traffic.
With cheaper CPC’s it also becomes more economically viable to test and experiment with different keywords and ad copy, which you can then implement onto a more premium platform like Google Adwords.
Step 2: Lower Your Max Bids
It seems obvious and simple, but it works. Lowering your max bids will help to reduce your CPC.
The trick with this however, is to not have your lowered max bid affect the position of your ads.
If you lower your max bid too much, your ad can lose its favourable position and fall even deeper into the pages of the internet.
If you lower your max bid to the optimum level however, you can keep your costs down without impacting on the position of your ad.
The trick with this is that you need to find the sweet spot where you can lower your bid without effecting your click through rate.
It takes some experimentation and time, but it is well worth the effort and can save you big bucks in the long run.
Here is what we suggest to help lower your max bid to the sweet spot-
- Start by identifying a few of your top performing keywords. Choose around 3-4 to start.
- Lower your bids by a few cents each- start small
- See what effect this has on your click through rate
- If there is no effect on your click through rate keep lowering your bid by a few cents
- Keep checking to see if your click through rate is being effected
- Keep repeating this process until you have found the sweet spot
When you are running this test, try not to change anything else on your ads so you can accurately measure what effect lowering your bids is having.
Through this process keep a watchful eye on things and don’t be afraid to test things out for a few weeks before making any changes.
At any time however, if you notice a drastic drop in the performance of your ads, raise your bid back to where it was.
Step 3: Experiment with Manual Bidding
Most brands prefer automatic bidding for convenience, however it may be worth experimenting with manual bidding if you are looking to keep costs down.
In fact, those who bid manually can often keep their costs down without impacting on their click through rates.
Manual bidding also allows you to have more control and also allows you to directly see how your bids effect the performance of your ads.
The only downside to manual bidding however, is that it is very time consuming and it can be overwhelming to keep track of. This is especially true if you are running multiple campaigns at once.
If you want to experiment with manual bidding, we recommend starting with just one campaign to begin with. Once you have got the hang of it and feel confident with manual bidding, you can then move on to doing this with other campaigns.
You can also experiment with starting your campaigns with manual bids and then switching over to automatic bids once you understand your competition and the flow of traffic that is coming in.
Step 4: Go for Long Tail Keywords
Another way to reduce costs when it comes to running a CPC campaign is to go for long tail keywords over broad keywords.
Long tail keywords are not as competitive as broad, “short tail” keywords which means that they are cheaper to bid on. They also yield better results when it comes to click through rates, making them extremely valuable.
For example, a broad keyword like “running shoes” has a suggested bid of around $2.66 but the long tail version of this keyword- “best running shoes for men” is only 61 cents.
You can see from this example why bidding on long tail keywords is going to save you big bucks in the long run.
When you bid on long tail keywords it not only reduces your costs but it also helps you to find the right type of customers more quickly. In fact, using long tail keywords helps to attract your most desirable customers and can give a huge boost to your click through rates.
Long tail keywords are also great for SEO, which means that using them has many benefits that you can capitalise on.
Step 5: Add Negative Keywords
One of the biggest mistakes we see businesses make when it comes to running PPC campaigns is not including negative keywords.
Negative keywords are a word or phrase that allow you to filter out who your ads will be served to in the search results page. To put it simply, negative keywords minimises the chances of the wrong person clicking on your ad.
Remember, you are paying for every click so you don’t want the wrong type of customer to be costing you money and the only way to prevent this is by including negative keywords.
Using negative keywords can also improve the quality of your traffic and click through rates, which can be a huge bonus in itself.
Overtime, using negative keywords can also lower your advertising costs and make it easier to find the right customers.
In order to find the right negative keywords to use, we recommend using a negative keyword tool. There are many great options out there but one that we suggest is Wordstream’s Free Negative Keyword tool.
This program allows you to enter a keyword phrase in the search box and then allows you to exclude any irrelevant search terms based on your keyword.
You can keep clicking on the irrelevant search terms until you have a list of negative keywords.
For example, lets say you are a Perth based business and your long tail keyword is “running shoes for men”. Negative keywords for this could include- “running shoes for women” or “womens running shoes” or “running shoe store in Sydney” or “running shoes for kids.”
As you can see, there are so many negative keywords that can be included that will clean up and improve the performance of your advertising campaigns.
Once you have a list of your negative keywords be sure to add them to your campaigns on your PPC platform.
Step 6: Pay Attention to the Different Devices Used
Most brands are advertising on both mobile and desktops however, it is important to note that the same ad can yield highly different click through rates on each of these platforms.
For example, your ad for “running shoes in Perth” may do really well on mobile in terms of click through rates and conversions, but not so well on desktops.
By monitoring the performance of your ads across different devices, you can start to become aware of where you need to emphasise certain things and where you need to pull back.
If you are noticing a campaign doing better on mobile as compared to desktop, make it the focal point of your campaign rather than wasting money on an ad that is not doing well on desktop.
As a whole, research from Marketing Profs has found that mobile devices generally yield higher click through rates, so if you are not already making the most of your mobile PPC advertising campaigns, you may want to reconsider.
By pushing forward on campaigns that are doing well on a certain device and holding back on the devices that they are not doing well on, it can help to save you money in the long run and also improve your conversion rates overall.
Step 7: Manage Geographic Locations
Another great way to reduce CPC costs is to pay attention to the geographic locations of your advertising. Naturally, you only want your ads to be reaching customers that you can actually serve, not customers living miles away who would be more likely to go with a business that is local to them.
This is especially important if you have a brick and mortar business. If you are based in Perth for example, it is going to be a huge burden to spend money advertising to people living in Sydney or Melbourne for example.
To avoid this happening, check the geographic locations of where your ads are being served. Experiment with getting specific about where your ads are shown and see if you can find a way to target customers in your local area only.
Many brands have seen huge success with this and have been able to increase their click through rates and lower their CPC.
When you target the customers that matter the most, it helps to streamline your spending while increasing your profits, so it is definitely worth paying attention to if you haven’t already looked into it.
Running PPC campaigns are one of the most important marketing tools that your brand will use. While they can yield amazing results and bring in a steady stream of business, they can also be expensive.
In order to really take your business to that next level, you need to learn how to reduce your CPC costs so you can put that money back into your business and increase your return on investment.
When you lower your CPC without effecting your click through rates, you also have a winning recipe for success.
Here is a summary of how to lower your CPC without effecting your CTR when running PPC campaigns-
- Explore alternative platforms to Google Adwords- even though Google Adwords is the most popular they are also one of the most expensive.
- Lower your max bids by a few cents at a time to see if it impacts the location of your ads. If there is no immediate change, keep lowering until you find your sweet spot.
- Experiment with manual bidding- it may take more time but it is far more cost effective once you get the hang of it.
- Use long tail keywords- these are much cheaper to bid on and help you to find your most desirable customers, making it a top strategy for any business or marketer.
- Take advantage of using negative keywords so you are not spending unnecessary money catering to customers who are not the right fit for your brand.
- Monitor which devices are yielding the best conversions and adjust accordingly so you can focus on what is bringing in the most profitable results.
- Check the geographic locations of where your ads are showing up and be sure to set the location of where you want your ads to display.
By following theses strategies, your business will be well on the way to lowering your spending costs without negatively effecting your click through rates.
The benefits of this speak for themselves and will help to turn your business into a profitable selling machine.